Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.
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It was an odd time for the best of reasons.
I was happy with my life, embracing changes to my lifestyle and enjoying the exploration of new ideals, new friendships, a whole new scene. Kirsty and I had been together for a over a year and, having both come out of long term relationships we had started, tentatively, talking about polyamory, open relationships and the variations that are available. It helped that we know some people who are poly and had a basic understanding of how things could work.
We did some research and we talked a lot about what it might mean for us both, what direction it might take our relationship and more. It’s important to emphasis just how much we talked, it wasn’t always easy, but we tried to talk through the ‘what ifs’ as best we could. A short while after that, Kirsty started seeing a guy we both knew.
I can still remember the first night when I knew they were together. It was not fun. At all.
I was ok for the first couple of hours, I distracted myself by doing some tidying up, pottering around my flat aimlessly. Normally Kirsty and I txt each other every couple of hours if we aren’t together so not hearing from her also added to my anxiety. How were things going? Were they sitting chatting? Were they listening to music? Were they kissing? Were they in the bedroom?
I remember going to bed, trying to sleep but struggling to think of anything else other than them, together. It was horrible. I couldn’t process it much beyond repeating that this was ‘allowed’, this was ok, and that it was just because it was the first time.
Society beats us over the head with the world view of monogamy, of finding the ‘one’, of exclusive partnerships. I knew that I didn’t hold with that view, I knew that Kirsty and I had discussed it and both of us agreed that we were choosing polyamory for the right reasons, we both believe that one person can’t be everything to another. People may try but there will always be a part of them that falters at something, they may then try and fake it but ultimately there will be things that just don’t quite work. Why not admit that and accept it as a reality?
In my past I’ve pushed aside the things I was failing at, accepting them as compromises, as things that ‘just were’. During our chats about being poly, Kirsty and I both realised we’d done the same thing, put part of ourselves aside for the good of our relationships, or so we thought. Chatting through the possibilities of polyamory made us both realise that it could work for us and that we owed it to ourselves to try.
As I lay in bed I comforted myself with those thoughts, with the fact that this was part of the journey and that it’d change over time, we’d talk about things and figure out how to make them work and, if they weren’t working, we’d talk about changing them, one way or another.
But that first night, alone in the dark with only my thoughts and fears for company, wasn’t fun. Comparisons popped into my head, is she having more fun with him than she does with me? Is she more relaxed? Is he better for her than I am? What if they have sex? Will he be better at that than me?
The next day we talked. And we talked a lot more in the coming weeks as Kirsty explored her new relationship, we discovered limits, communications issues and it became easier for me each time she was with him.
A couple of years later and Kirsty and I both have partners and the wobbles come back from time to time, thankfully not as strongly as they have in the past. These days I know they are temporary and likely caused by my own insecurities or fears, just as I know that talking them through with my partners will help all of us be stronger.
Part of me wonders if the polywobbles ever stop, and then I realised; if they did that’s when we should be worrying because it signals a time when we no longer care as much as we should for the people we love. So bring on the polywobbles I say, they remind us we are alive.